Ah, the Second Verse Curse.
You knew exactly what I was talking about the moment you read that title.
It’s a thing. It’s an awful thing.
The Second Verse Curse is something you’ve experience many times, but probably didn’t have a name for until now.
It’s that moment when you’re knocking through a song and it’s awesome, everything’s going great. You have your awesome idea, your first verse set up the scene perfectly. Your chorus came really quickly and you’re feeling really good about where this is going — until you have to write the second verse.
All songwriters have experienced the giant hurdle that is the Second Verse Curse.
It’s happened to us all. Don’t sweat it. It’s a natural stopping place – you’re tempted to go get a sammy or make that second cup of coffee.
They key component in breaking the Second Verse Curse is not to let it win. Here’s now you can push past it:
1. Take a break.
Bet you didn’t see that coming! Really though, there’s no shame in stepping back for a moment and switching gears to a small, mindless task. Key word here: Mindless.
Go put a load of laundry in the wash. Make yourself a cup of tea. Straighten up the living room. Take a shower, even! Make it brief, and make it physical. Remove yourself from the room where the song is waiting, and go quickly do something else. This gives you some physical space from the problem, while allowing your subconscious to keep working on it.
2. For the love of God, don’t get on social media.
Pleasssse. Remember how I said you could step away and complete a small, mindless task? Checking your newsfeed does not count as small nor mindless.
Social media is a giant timesuck. Do yourself a favor and don’t even be tempted to log in and check your notifications. Same goes for email. It’s never going to take you the 2 seconds you think it will.
3. Go for a walk or to the gym
This one allows you to really step out of the song when you’re stuck. Sometimes, only immersive physical activity can cure the frustration that comes from hitting a writing road block. Get active: go for a jog around your neighborhood, do some cardio at the gym. Getting the blood flowing will help you get rid of all that energy that’s pent up inside, and help you distance so you can come back to the song later with a fresh perspective.
4. Ok, ok, come back to it tomorrow. But really, come back to it.
Sometimes, you just feel like you’re at the point of diminishing returns. No matter how hard you try and hammer out the lyrics, they just aren’t what you want to say. Keep what you have, then put it aside for the day. Come back to it tomorrow, or at another designated time. They key component to this is: you actually have to come back to it! Don’t let the song sit for ages, woefully incomplete.
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